With its high population density, burgeoning passenger demand and fast-growing aviation sector, Asia-Pacific is outpacing other world regions to become a key growth engine for aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
There is demand for 13,460 aircraft worth US$2.2 trillion in the next 20 years for Asia-Pacific, making up more than 40 per cent of global demand for the European planemarker.
Van der Heijden: upcoming A350-1000 to meet APAC airline needs
Speaking at the delivery of the third Airbus A350-900 aircraft for Thai Airways International (THAI) in Toulouse, Isabelle Olivier, head of operations Asia, Airbus, said: “Asia-Pacific is where Airbus’ growth is, therefore our relationship with Asia is very significant.”
Of the 11 operators worlwide which have taken delivery of the A350-900s, five of them are from Asia, including THAI, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, she told TTG Asia.
Following the delivery of A350-900 to THAI last Friday, Asiana Airlines will today take delivery of its first A350, bringing to date the number of A350s delivered to 80.
“We have met big success with the A350,” said Olivier.
In particular, the A350 XWB – the latest wide-body member to the Airbus family – also sees “particularly strong demand in Asia-Pacific, said Airbus’ head of marketing, Asia, North America, Joost Van der Heijden.
Airbus has received 821 orders from 44 customers for this model, and continues to have a “strong backlog” of 744 aircraft on its order book, he added.
Furthermore, the upcoming A350-1000, with its same flying range as the -900 variant but with 40 more seats, will be well-positioned to meet the needs of airlines amid Asia-Pacific’s strong growth and competition, Van der Heijden commented.
The A350-1000 is expected to enter into service in 2H2017 with Qatar Airways as the launch customer. It is currently en-route to certification with three flight test aircraft.
Meanwhile, the A320neo and A330neo, with their lower fuel burn of of 20 per cent and 14 per cent respectively, also see strong demand from Asia-Pacific carriers, the Airbus excutives said.
In particular, the A380 continues to be a firm favourite, said Van der Heijden, with over 50 per cent of the superjumbo flights originating from or flying into Asia.